Omaruru is situated near the Erongo Mountains, on the usually dry Omaruru River. It is located on the main paved road from Swakopmund to Otjiwarongo. The name in the local Otjiherero language means 'bitter milk', as the cattle used to browse on a local bush that turned their milk bitter.
Gottlieb Viehe founded the Mission Station on the 10th October 1870 - believed to be the founding date of Omaruru. He held sermons, started school tuition and established the very first meteorological station in Namibia with written records from 1880- 1887. Both Viehe, and the last missionary to live in the Mission House, August Kuhlmann (1939-1943), translated the New Testament from German to Herero. In 1984 the Municipality of Omaruru bought the Mission House from the Rhenish Missionary Society and in 1986 it was declared a National Monument. The consecration of the Mission Church took place in December 1873 and that of the Roman Catholic Church in 1907. The mission church is currently under the protection of the Historical Monuments Commission.
Very significant in the history of Omaruru, and also depicted on the Municipal Coat of Arms is the Franke Tower, this monument is often visited by tourists to Namibia. After the Herero Rebellion flared up on the 17th of January 1904, Major Victor Franke of the Colonial Army freed Omaruru in the battle of 4th February 1904. Omaruru's grateful residents built the Franke Tower in 1907 in honor of Major Franke and it was inaugurated on the 4th February 1908. The adjacent battlefield was declared to be under the protection of the Historical Monuments Commission in 1972.